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Falcoholinks: All the Falcons news you need for Thursday, Sept. 5

It’s football season.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons-Training Camp Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve officially made it. No, the Falcons don’t play today, but we have actual, real, counts-towards-the-standings football on television tonight. It’s only a few hours until the 2019 NFL season gets underway and just a couple of days until the Falcons take on the Vikings. Harness that unbridled excitement into clicking today’s Falcoholinks to prepare for Sunday.

Julio contract watch

Superstar wide receiver Julio Jones is still without a contract as we approach Week 1, which is definitely concerning. There’s been rumblings all summer long that a new deal appeared just around the corner, but as of yet both sides have not come to an agreement.

Owner Arthur Blank weighed in on the situation, saying that the team and Jones are “very, very close” to a contract extension. To strengthen that assertion, the Falcons worked restructures on the contracts for Ricardo Allen and Jake Matthews, seemingly clearing the way for the cap availability to finalize a deal.

Julio Contract Watch continues, but there’s optimism that it gets done before the Falcons’ first game on Sunday.

Vikings on deck for Week 1

The regular season finally kicks off for the Falcons on Sunday as they travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings. The Vikes own the all-time edge over Atlanta, and are also slight favorites at home to open the season.

Minnesota possesses a very strong defensive front—especially in the pass-rush department. This game will be a good initial test for the Falcons’ new offensive line, as both Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen have strong track records of getting after the quarterback, and Linval Joseph presents a real problem up the middle. All would probably look very nice in an Atlanta Falcons jersey.

Sorting out the O-Line

The battle for left guard was one of the marquee competitions in camp, and as James Carpenter has been taking first-team reps in practice this week, it seems he may get the starting nod on Sunday.

Matt Gono was also practicing with the 1’s, and considering his good work in the preseason, he could get the start over Ty Sambrailo against Minnesota. This is all through the prism of Kaleb McGary’s return from a heart procedure (which from all reports is going very well), so you can’t entirely rule him out, either.

Surprises with cuts and keepers

The Falcons trimmed their roster down to 53 on Saturday, releasing a number of players as they get set for Minnesota. Our staff provided its take on the most surprising cuts and keepers from cutdown day.